The award-winning Florida cop who made international headlines last year after shooting an unarmed caretaker who had his arms in the air, then claiming he had feared for his life after confusing a toy truck for a loaded gun, was informed by another cop seconds before the shooting that the object was not a gun, but a toy.
But North Miami police officer Jonathan Aledda fired anyway, not even striking the autistic man with the truck that he had confused for a gun, but his caretaker who had already told officers it was not a gun; the man they later claimed they were trying to protect from the toy-wielding autistic man they believed had a gun.
However, not only did caretaker Charles Kinsey tell the cops it was not a gun before the shooting, but a North Miami police sergeant who viewed the object through binoculars also confirmed it was a toy truck, telling the other officers to hold their fire.
And the officers did hold their fire, except for Aledda, who seconds earlier, had told fellow officers he had a clear shot on the subject, so apparently was not going to let that moment pass, even if had received a direct order not to shoot.
What else can we expect from a cop who was hired by North Miami police in 2012, despite several warning signs that he could become a problem cop because he possesses a “lack of tolerance” and was also described as being “judgmental; argumentative; critical; challenging; rigid; stubborn”?
Fortunately, Kinsey survived the shooting, and is now suing.
The stunning but not surprising revelations surfaced this week after the Miami New Times obtained an audio recording of North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene being interviewed by Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigators ten days after the July 18, 2016 shooting. The recording is posted below.
Chief Eugene, who had been on the job only six days when the shooting took place, described an ensuing coverup between police and North Miami city officials to protect Aledda, who has no business carrying a badge and a gun.
However, that interview was not enough for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office to file charges against Aledda, who has been on paid administrative leave for more than eight months now (although they insist they are still investigating).
And that is not surprising considering Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has never filed charges against any cop for on-duty shootings since taking office in 1993. And there have been many.
Her latest questionable decision was made last month when she declined to charge four prison guards who forced a mentally ill inmate into a hot shower for two hours, leaving him to die a slow, excruciating and scalding death, prompting renewed criticism from the New Times, who referred to her as a “disgrace” in a scathing article last month.
So even though prosecutors are promising they will be arriving at a decision any day now, we can predict that they will not file charges against Aledda, who was deemed a potential problem cop when applying for the North Miami Police Department in 2012.
He not only had a shoplifting conviction on his record when applying, he was determined to have a “lack of tolerance” and was also described as being “judgmental; argumentative; critical; challenging; rigid; stubborn.”
Just the kind of person who would shoot an unarmed man laying on his back with his hands in the air after being told by a commanding officer not to open fire.
According to the Miami New Times:
After the shooting, union officials justified Aledda’s actions by saying he thought the autistic man with Kinsey had a gun, not a toy truck. But Eugene’s interview with FDLE contradicts that claim. (This past Tuesday, the North Miami Police public information officer declined to comment on behalf of the city manager, Spring.)
“I heard the shooter, Officer Aledda, make a statement to the nature of ‘Be advised, I have clear shot [of] subject,'” Eugene said, describing the audio of the police radio just before the shooting. “Later on, a sergeant… got on the air and said, ‘I have a visual; it is a toy. Is it a toy? QRX.’ That means ‘Stand by; don’t do anything.’ Then there is a conversation back and forth. The next transmission was by [another officer saying] ‘Shot fired!'”
Eugene’s description comes in an hourlong interview that centers on the bizarre aftermath of the case. He doesn’t pull punches about the state of the department. Eugene, a veteran City of Miami cop who had been sworn in as chief only six days before the Kinsey shooting, says training was lax and infighting rampant.
“The scene was a mess, to be honest with you,” he tells investigators of the Kinsey shooting. “People were walking all over the place. Thank God [Kinsey] did not die. I realized I have a problem with the training of my staff. We’re talking about some 15- or 16-year veterans, but in North Miami, a 15- or 16-year veteran may have less experience than a two-year cop in Miami.”
Fights in the department were so bad, Eugene said, that he worried his cops wouldn’t even be willing to protect one another, much less the community.
“I’m afraid one of them will get shot, for God’s sake, and someone will call for backup and they’ll say, ‘I’m not going,’ just to tell you how much the animosity is,” he said.
The chief is also saying there is another video, apparently confiscated by police, that has not been made public.
In a previous cell-phone clip that was provided to the press, Kinsey was seen on tape lying on his back, repeatedly telling police that Rios was only holding a toy. Rios sat cross-legged next to him. While the video did not show the moment Aledda shot Kinsey, the video does show the cops handcuffing an injured Kinsey as he laid on the ground.
In his FDLE interview, the chief said the second, unseen video was clear enough to show one cop, a rookie, resting with his finger off the trigger of his weapon. That cop was not the officer who shot Kinsey.
“It’s was video taken pulled back from the second floor of an apartment,” Eugene said. “Because you could clearly see the officer leaning in the engine area, and the rookie officer, I was telling you, the black male, it was so clear you could see his finger outside trigger, behind a bush. You can see the black male [Kinsey] on his back with both hands in the air.”
The news raises further questions about the controversial Kinsey shooting, which became a flashpoint in the anti-police-brutality movement sweeping the nation. Who took the clip? And why or how did the video not make its way to the press in the eight months since Kinsey was shot?
The answer to those questions are obvious. The video was never released because it would contradict their narrative that the autistic man, Armando Rios Soto, appeared threatening and menacing, the way he waved his toy truck around to fool officers thinking it was a loaded gun.
Instead, the video shows a rookie cop with his finger off the trigger, having made the determination that Kinsey was not carrying a gun.
But as police are known to do, they quickly spun the story to make themselves look like the victim as we described last year.
“The movement of the white individual looked like he was getting ready to discharge a firearm into Mr. Kinsey,” said Miami-Dade police union boss John Rivera in a press conference today, attended by WSVN.
And the officer discharged trying to strike and stop the white male and unfortunately, he missed.”
Rivera went on to slam the media for reporting on this story.
“Be responsible in your reporting,” Rivera said in the press conference.
But is it too much to ask cops to be responsible in their policing?